Rehoming, Loaning and Sharing Help
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- What is Horses4Homes
- Why Use Horses4Homes
- Listing A Horse
- Horses4Homes the Charity
- The Horses
- The Cost
- Before you Apply
- The Application Process
- The Rehoming, Loaning and Sharing Process
- The Rehome, Loan or Share Agreement
- Why we can’t list or promote horses as broodmares or list stallions/colts
- What are the prospects of finding a companion only horse a suitable new home?
- Where do the funds payable by those taking on the horses go ?
- Insuring Your Horse
What is Horses4Homes
Horses4Homes is the only registered equine charity in the UK that vastly reduces the risks associated with rehoming, loaning and sharing by providing a state of the art online listing and application process. The charity’s dedicated staff provide support and guidance to all matters relating to responsible rehoming, loaning and sharing.
- The charity helped to rehome, loan and share 241 horses in 2015
- It’s site receives over 50,000 visitors each month
- It receives around 100 applications for horses every month
- It receives around 70 horse listings each month
Anyone who rehomes, loans or shares through the charity is asked to complete our survey and here are the responses for 2014 so far:
- Would you use the charity again to apply/list a horse for rehoming ? – 100% Yes
- Would you recommend the charity to family and friends ? – 100% Yes
- Do you think the charity’s system and support reduces the risks associated with rehoming ? 98% Yes
- Do you think the £10 application fee helps to prevent time wasters from applying for horses ? 95% Yes
Why Use Horses4Homes
Horses4Homes invites any horse owner wishing to find a responsible new owner, loanee or sharer for their much loved horse to use the Horses4Homes system. Rather than listing horses “free to a good home” which is fraught with risks of unscrupulous, dishonest people and timewasters approaching you to take on your horse and invariably costs you money – use Horses4Homes.
Horses4Homes is free to list your horse, screens applicants and will inspect new homes.
Horses4Homes is the only online system available that attempts to match horses with suitable new owners/loanees or sharers. The system has been many months in the making and has been developed by an equine welfare professional in consultation with leading equine charities. In 2015 the charity rehomed, loaned and shared 241 horses.
The details required to list a horse and apply for a horse are extensive but necessary to enable people to make informed decisions before they make a commitment to rehome, loan or share a horse. Every horse listed on the site is first screened before it is published to help ensure the information provided is as detailed and transparent as possible enabling potential applicants to make informed decisions as to their potential suitability.
The Horses4Homes website receives over 50,000 visitors each month with many horse adverts receiving hundreds of views within a matter of days. Applications often being submitted the very same day a horse’s advert is published on the site.
Horses are advertised on the owner’s behalf through Social Media bringing interested parties to the adverts on the Charity’s site and encouraging them to use the bespoke application and rehoming process facilitated by the charity.
Newsletters are sent to registered users of the charity every week promoting the horses for rehoming, the charity now has over 26,000 users.
Applicants are encouraged to view, trial (more than once) and vet horses prior to agreeing to re-home them. If they do not wish to have the horse vetted they should at the very least contact the Owner’s vet to obtain a full clinical history on the horse. Permission to do this is usually given by the owner and made clear on the horse’s listing.
Horse Owners are encouraged to allow applicants to view, trial and vet the horse if they so wish, take up references to verify applicant’s suitability, carry out CCJ checks and make use of the Horses4Homes welfare representatives to inspect new homes before making that final commitment to re-home their horse.
All rehomes, loans or shares will include the cost of a bespoke agreement tailor made to meet the needs of your horse to ensure transparency of commitment, responsibility and its related cost. If ownership is to be signed over to the successful applicant that individual will need to sign an agreement stating that should they ever need to rehome that horse in the future they will give the previous owner the opportunity to take the horse back at no further cost and if this is not a viable option, will re-list the horse with Horses4Homes. Under no circumstances is the horse to be sold on the open market.
Listing A Horse
To list a horse on Horses4Homes simply register here, complete the listing process, upload current photos, videos and veterinary records if you have them.
Horses4Homes will then activate your listing, subject to you providing sufficient detail and you can then sit back and wait for the Horses4Homes team to screen the applicants who apply for your horse and forward to you the best ones available for you to explore further, saving you time, anxiety and worry.
Horses4Homes the Charity
The charity Horses4Homes was founded to promote humane behaviour towards horses by helping to rehome, loan and share horses and educate the public in matters related to animal welfare. The charity works to promote and protect the health and well-being of people by reducing the distress caused by having to rehome, loan or share a horse for which they are struggling to care for.
The cost of acquiring one of the horses listed for rehoming or loaning through Horses4Homes is only £50, and is currently free for anyone looking to share an owner’s horse. The fees charged have been kept low in order to be accessible to as many people and horses in need as possible. As such they do not cover the running costs of Horses4Homes. The charity is reliant on the kind and generous donations it receives from those who recognise its vital work in preventing the unnecessary suffering of horses, together with alleviating the worry caused to owners faced with the decision to rehome, loan or share their animal.
It is also advisable and recommended that all horse owners request a donation to be made to the charity Horses4Homes by the applicant who goes on to rehome, loan or share your horse to demonstrate their commitment to horse welfare, your horse and their financial capability to look after your horse. The majority of equine charities invite loanees to make a donation to their organisation, as without financial support and the generosity of horse lovers we would not be able to help so many horses and people find loving homes and new partnerships. Please donate here
All the horses listed on Horses4Homes are vulnerable. They are all looking for caring, responsible, loving new homes or sharers. If you are able to help one of these horses by providing a home for life or a new sharing partnership, Horses4Homes urges you to apply and help these horses and their owners at a time of need. Many of the owners listing their horses on Horses4Homes have hit hard times and would love nothing more than to keep their much loved horse, but for reasons out of their control they are unable to do so.
Horses4Homes charity services:
- It is free to list any horse on Horses4Homes, but if owners can afford to make a donation of just a few pounds when they list their horse it is hugely appreciated.
- The fee to apply for a horse is a non-refundable £10. Horses4Homes is committed to matching you with the most appropriate horse to suit your requirements, therefore you are likely to need to apply for more than one horse to ensure you find the perfect match, but by completing the application process it will be quicker each time as many of your answers will be saved from previous applications.
- If deemed suitable, once your application has been screened, verified and a new home inspected, the cost of rehoming or loaning a horse is £50.
- Once a suitable match has been found for sharing, the cost to the horse’s owner is £25 to cover the support provided by Horses4Homes in helping you to find the right match of owner, sharer and horse.
- For those applying for a horse, it may also be necessary for you to make a donation to the charity Horses4Homes, as requested by the horse owner detailed on the horse listing, to demonstrate your commitment to horse welfare, taking on the new horse and supporting the work of the charity.
- If you require Horses4Homes to undertake a home check the cost is £40.
Other costs to take into account when looking to rehome, loan or share a horse, whether from Horses4Homes or elsewhere are:
- Pre-purchase veterinary examination (Horses4Homes recommends that you have this carried out for peace of mind)
- Transport costs
- Insurance costs for third party liability, personal accident and/or veterinary cover.
Before you Apply
Before you think about applying for a horse listed on Horses4Homes whether that be as a new owner, loanee or perhaps a sharer, it is necessary for you to seriously consider whether you have the time, knowledge, experience and financial capacity to make such a commitment. Caring for and riding horses is a very time consuming and costly activity which should not be undertaken lightly.
Before browsing for available horses it is necessary for you to decide what type of horse you are looking for in accordance with your ability, equine knowledge, funds available and the time you have to look after the horse. You will need to decide whether you should loan a horse, share a horse or take over ownership of a horse.
You will need to consider where you would keep the horse and the related cost of this, is their sufficient support at the premises if you are inexperienced, which veterinary surgeon you would use, the type and cost of insurance and what contingency plan you would have for when you are away on holiday or ill. Please ensure that you inform yourself fully before you apply for any horse on Horses4Homes. Extensive advice is available on the British Horse Society’s website; Buying & Owning a Horse, Loaning a Horse.
If, after reading all the advice available, you believe you are able to make the commitment and wish to apply for a horse please read carefully the details that accompany each horse matching your search criteria and proceed to complete the detailed application process.
The Application Process
There are numerous questions, all of which we require you to answer honestly, providing sufficient detail wherever possible. It will take about 10-15 minutes to complete the application form. It can be saved as you go through the process, so you can leave it and come back to it. It is also saved on your account so should you wish to apply for more than one horse you will not need to complete the form more than once although it can be modified as required.
Once complete your application will be checked by Horses4Homes staff to ensure it is sufficiently detailed. You may be asked to provide more information but in 75% of cases the application is forwarded within 24 hours to the owner for their consideration. If the owner does not get in touch or the horse turns out to be no longer available a free application will be offered to you. Applications cost £10.
If you are unsuccessful on your first application the details you provide on your application will be saved enabling you to apply for other horses without the need to complete the questionnaire again from scratch.
The Rehoming, Loaning and Sharing Process
People who are interested in a horse can message the owner through the system to find out more about the animal if required. At this stage personal contact details cannot be exchanged.
If an interested party wishes to be invited to meet the horse they need to follow the steps to “apply” for the horse on the animals listing. This application is then assessed (usually within 24 hours) and if deemed sufficiently detailed and complete it is forwarded to the owner of the horse to consider. If the owner thinks the application is unsuitable for their horse it will be rejected and a polite email sent to the applicant informing them of this.
Applicants are invited to visit the horse, trial the horse and if both parties wish to proceed with the rehome, loan or share, a veterinary examination of the horse can be arranged; this is encouraged but not essential.
If the horse is being rehomed or loaned out the owner should be invited to inspect the premise where the applicant intends to keep the horse. If they are unable to visit Horses4Homes can arrange a home check on the owner’s behalf.
Rehoming, loaning and sharing agreements are tailor-made for each rehome, loan or share.
The Rehoming/Loaning/Sharing Donation shown on each horse’s listing is what is payable to the charity by the successful applicant, and must be paid before the horse leaves the owner’s yard, or a share arrangement starts.
Horses4Homes is here throughout the process, we provide support and advice both during the process and afterwards should any problems arise.
The Rehome, Loan or Share Agreement
If both parties are happy to proceed with the rehome, loan or share, Horses4Homes will develop a bespoke Rehoming, Loaning or Sharing Agreement for both parties to sign. When the owner clicks on a button on their account called “Proceed to Agreement” the system will direct them to a Rehome/Loan/Share Agreement Questionnaire, the answers to which will enable Horses4Homes to prepare the agreement. The agreement is sent to both parties for approval and can be amended as required. It must however be signed, witnessed and a copy retained by both parties before the horse goes to its new home or a sharing arrangements starts.
If ownership is to be signed over to the successful applicant their agreement will include a clause stating that should they need to rehome the horse in the future they will give the previous owner the opportunity to take the horse back at no further cost and if this is not a viable option, will re-list the horse back with Horses4Homes. Under no circumstances is the horse to be sold on the open market.
Why we can’t list or promote horses as broodmares or list stallions/colts
The large number of horses listed on our website despite the numbers we find homes for every month demonstrate that we need to be providing homes for the horses already out there rather than encouraging people to breed more, which will also need homes.
Sadly there are more than enough horses in the UK to fill the good homes our users have to offer so as a responsible charity we cannot promote further breeding.
Each time a horse is born it increases the chances of a horse not finding a loving home at some time in its life, whether it is that horse directly or the fact that that horse has taken a home that could have gone to another. It also leads to horses getting cheaper and cheaper increasing the chances of unscrupulous people taking advantage. The greater the number of horses the harder it is to fulfil the purpose of Horses4Homes and help to find them all safe loving homes.
It may seem that a private owner breeding just one foal will have little impact, but unfortunately far too many people think this so thousands are born every year.
Because of this Horses4Homes cannot list stallions/colts or broodmares as they can be used for breeding purposes
Breeding should not be a way of giving a mare a role especially if the mare has been lame or suffered something such as kissing spine, not only could these genetic defects be passed on to the next generation resulting in more suffering but being in foal subjects the mare to strain and stress and can make her existing conditions flare up.
So please don’t think that promoting your mare as a broodmare is the answer to finding her a home as it could just be the first step to there being another poor horse that does not have the home it deserves.
We are always willing to try to find homes for horses as companions, although these homes are difficult to find.
We have to think of the future and listing horses for breeding purposes is not ethical and we have to put the horse first.
Should you have any queries throughout this process please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will advise you accordingly.
Good luck with your application and listing your horse for rehoming.
What are the prospects of finding a companion only horse a suitable new home?
Twenty percent of the horses listed with the rehoming, loaning and sharing charity Horses4Homes are companion horses and ponies, animals that for a variety of reasons cannot, or owners believe, should not be ridden for a variety of reasons, be them behavioural or health. The percentage of horses and ponies that were rehomed by the charity last year which could not be ridden and were rehomed purely to be companions to other horses was just 6%. Of these companion animals 58% were ponies.
“Sadly many owners find it very difficult to justify the cost of keeping a horse or pony that cannot be ridden and there is very little demand for unrideable horses and ponies. Horses are living longer and we seem to live in a disposable society; when animals no longer serve their purpose we try to rehome them. That said the majority of horse owners own horses to ride them and with the rising cost of livery coupled with the recent economic crisis, it is very difficult for many to justify the cost of keeping an unrideable horse for what could be many years indeed.” Remarks Rebecca Evans, Rehoming Manager for the charity.
“I believe many owners realise that the likelihood of finding a 5* home for their unrideable equine is very small. Deep down I think many owners are trying to face the reality that if they are not in a position to continue to care for the horse their only realistic option is to reduce their own cost of living in order to afford the cost of the horse or have the horse humanely put to sleep at home, safe in the knowledge it has come to no harm.”
The charity would urge owners not to offer companion horses, or any other horses, “free to a good home”. By using the listing and application process offered by the charity as well as the support offered by the team at Horses4Homes there is no safer way to rehome these horses or indeed to acquire a companion horse that is honestly described by its owner who wants the best for that horse and is rehoming for genuine reasons. Horses in their prime or younger that can no longer be ridden are particularly vulnerable to being picked up by unscrupulous dealers only to be buted up and sold on as ridden animals who will undoubtedly enter a spiral of neglect moving from pillar to post until someone saves him or he meets a bitter end.
Horses4Homes is passionate about helping any owner to rehome their horse whether it be rideable or not so long as the owners subscribe to the charity’s terms of honestly and accurately describing their horses. Large horses above 16hands which are Thoroughbreds or Warmblood types are almost impossible to find homes for. There are also an abundance of unbroken, unrideable Shetland ponies which require restricted grazing and are also not easy to find homes for. Horses which can be a light hack, are good in traffic but cannot do a great deal of work are still rehomeable and the charity has been very successful in rehoming horses of this nature to riders who simply want to enjoy the countryside on horseback at a slow pace once or twice a week on a horse that is uncomplicated in almost every way. The charity has rehomed a number of horses over the age of 20 that fit this criteria.
There is a demand for companion horses and ponies but that demand is small. Those unrideable horses which have the greatest chance of finding a suitable, long term home are those which do not require medication for any health issues, are easy to manage in terms of behaviour and temperament, mix well with other horses and do not have anxiety issues if left on their own whilst its companion is taken out of the field and ridden.
Where do the funds payable by those taking on the horses go ?
At a first glance it may appear that the charity is just a website, but this is far from the truth. The reason Horses4Homes was developed back in 2012, was to help owners who have fallen on hard times to find loving and responsible homes for their horses that they can no longer keep. Many owners contact sanctuaries everyday in the hope that their horse can have a space at one of these centres, but the reality is very few horses get that luxury and understably, only those which are in desperate need are given a place at these centres. Many of these animal welfare charities now refer these owners to us to help them. Today, the charity now receives many calls, emails and posts from owners looking for help but also from people interested in taking on and helping a horse.
There is considerable risk that horses of relatively moderate value, which may also have health or behavioural issues, could be acquired by individuals in the commercial sector who do not have their best interests at heart, and whose desire is to make a profit out of masking these problems and selling the horse on. Many owners also fear that if rehomed their horse will be regularly sold on. To tackle these concerns Horses4Homes devised a system which vastly reduces the risks and helps to safeguard the horses future. Owners who have used the system think it is excellent and would recommend it to their friends and family. Do read view our testimonials for information.
Setting up another sanctuary or rehabilitation centre is false economy as the overheads are large and the numbers of horses you can help compared with the need is arguably disproportionate. There was a need to develop a charity that could devise an effective system for those owners who were prepared to honestly describe their horses and whose interest was not one of financial gain, but purely to find a suitable, loving, long-term home for their horse. In order to then find these horses a home an application system needed to be devised. This was developed (the site took over six months to develop and is still being perfected all the time even now).
The rehoming, loaning and sharing donations are essential to enable the charity to operate and they are payable by the successful applicant who takes on or share the horse and not the owner. It enables the charity to provide the service it does either completely free or at a very low cost to owners in need of support. Keeping horses is an expensive hobby and should not be undertaken lightly and unfortunately if horses are too inexpensive to acquire they become all to easily disposable, which is not in the interests of the horse.
Each listing is screened by experienced staff before it is published and promoted on the site, as we must ensure owners are being sufficiently detailed about their horses enabling people to make informed decisions as to the horse’s potential suitability. We also advise owners on all matters relating to responsible rehoming, loaning and sharing, and receive quite literally hundreds of calls, emails and messages for help and advice every month.
Anyone who is interested in visiting a horse listed on the site must apply for that horse by completing the online application form. This is where they need to explain their experience, what they wish to do with the horse, provide references, where they wish to keep it, the environment and so on. The majority of existing equine charities operate in this way and Horses4Homes is much the same, but it is able to rehome, loan and share a great deal more horses because it can help owners countrywide. Applications for horses are screened and sent to the owners to their online account for consideration.
All horses which are rehomed, loaned or shared are provided with a tailor made rehoming, loaning or sharing agreement. If ownership is signed over new owners must sign to agree that if they ever need to rehome that horse in the future they must first and foremost let the previous owner know, giving them the option to take the horse back at no extra cost and if that is not viable, they are required to list the horse back through the charity and not sell it on. No horse can be sold through the site.
The charity provide a home check service, this is facilitated by the RSPCA, British Horse Society, Redwings, World Horse Welfare, the Mare and Foal Sanctuary and Horseworld. All of these organisations support Horses4Homes in what it has achieved and aims to achieve, and allow us to use their trained staff to carry out home checks on new homes, together with horses already out in their new homes, where owners are not in a place to carry out these checks themselves.
We promote the horses far and wide giving each and every horse the very best chance of finding an appropriate new home or sharer. Sadly with our limited resources and the huge population of horses in this country, this is not always possible, however the charity will provide advice and support to help the owner make the right decision for the horses welfare.
Once the horse is in its new home or has a new sharer we follow up on how everything is going, conduct home checks if requested by the owner, and if there are any problems we are here to support all parties, with our priority remaining the welfare of the horse. We are a great deal more than just a website, but our website has been designed to enable the Horses4Homes team to focus on tasks which computers cannot do, and where experience, compassion and dedication are central to the service the charity provides. Over 30% of the teams time is completely unpaid and we only have two members of staff and a few amazing volunteers that help us. Last year we helped to rehome 241 horses, and we plan to help many more horses and owners in the future.
Insuring Your Horse
Insuring Your Horse
Taking on a new horse is an exciting and rewarding experience. At Horses4Homes we help to make the joy and responsibility of horses more affordable through our rehoming or loaning schemes and our Care to Share horse-sharing project. Whether you rehome, loan or share, unprecedented costs can still arise, however these can be protected against with suitable insurance cover.
What is suitable insurance cover?
As a minimum, Horses4Homes recommends that horses are covered for public liability against damage to people or property. Public liability bills can be extremely costly, and liability can attach to a horse owner even when their horse is on loan or being used by another. As such, the person responsible for the horse should ensure cover is in place. Those loaning or sharing horses through riding schools may automatically be covered, but it is crucial to check with individual establishments.
Horse related accidents, whereby the rider is injured, can also have far reaching cost implications. Personal accident cover will protect for this but each party involved with a horse will need their own cover.
When reviewing a policy ensure adequate cover is provided for veterinary bills, as these costs can quickly mount up. It is worth paying a premium to opt for a higher level of veterinary cover, providing a higher incident limit with fewer exclusions. Paying a higher premium will usually mean a lower excess (the initial amount you pay when making a claim).
As standard most policies will cover you if your horse is stolen, strays or dies. Some policies will also cover for loss of use, if the horse becomes unable to be ridden.
You may want to consider cover for tack and other equipment, which can be expensive to replace and is sadly vulnerable to theft.
What to look for in a policy?
There are many variations in cover within and between insurers. Your horse’s value, age, medical history and role are all factors to consider. For horses listed with Horses4Homes the sum insured will be nominal which will help lower your premium.
For veteran horses certain companies will provide cover, but there are more restrictions and the incident limit lower. A horse’s previous medical history may exclude it from certain cover and even make a full policy unnecessary. If you opt not to take out a full policy, allowance should be made for veterinary bills by paying regular sums in to a savings account.
Shopping around and working out the sums is important, as is discussing the options with the other parties involved (owners/loaners/sharers). For example, an owner may choose to take out and pay for a policy on behalf of a loaner: if this is the case it is important that all parties understand who would be the beneficiary in the event of the horse’s death, theft or loss of use. Other negotiations may include agreeing which activities the policy will cover the horse for.
Where to find cover?
For a comprehensive range of cover an insurance company is the best option. Public liability and personal accident cover come as standard in all mainstream policies and some companies offer cover for two people sharing a horse.
Affiliated society or club memberships often provide a comprehensive level of public liability and personal accident cover. For those sharing through our Care to Share project, this can be an affordable way of covering a second party. Not all societies and clubs provide the same level of cover so it’s worth checking their restrictions.
When taking out a policy choose from reputable, specialist equine companies who have a good track record when dealing with claims. Insurance comparison websites can offer advice about the types of cover available, and will guide you to some of the companies and products on the market. For example https://www.moneysupermarket.com/pet-insurance/horse-insurance/.
To avoid unnecessary conflict, especially through a claim, it is sensible to account for all decisions in your Horses4Homes bespoke rehoming agreement, clearly stating the financial commitments and insurance responsibility of each party involved.
Taking time at the start to seriously consider your insurance needs should safeguard all parties against unmanageable bills. Once the insurance policy is in place, your horse can be enjoyed with peace of mind.